Sherry Gideons

Background

Rugie Street was like any other street in San Jose, California, except that it was the street my Dad and I used to race on. It wasn't far from Piedmont Middle Junior High School either. And, even though I had lots of dreams like lots of children do, my real dream was to be a world class athlete. A gymnast, a track star, and even a bodybuilder, it didn't seem to matter at the time, but I knew I wanted to compete physically. My Dad knew too, that's why we raced up and down Rugie street, he was challenging me, developing me physically, supporting my real dream the only way he knew how. He supported me in everything I did. Even in Speech recitals, he wrote most of my speeches and would coach me as I recited them, another one of my child hood goals. Still, at twelve, my speech skills were being developed along with my athlete coordination.

When his mother died that year, I lost his support. I lost him. I don't know why. Maybe it was the way she suffered from lung cancer. Maybe it was because her death caused him to reflect on his own life. I loved her too. She was my friend and my grandmother. Hindsight is never gratifying and it doesn't make any difference. Our family life went downhill and within months my parents divorced. I lost my grandmother and my Dad the same year. I never raced up and down Rugie Street again.

My hopes and dreams seemed to disappear. The loss of my grandmother and my parent's divorce created a void and sickness within me that I would not be able to correct for many years to come. I thought that all this had something to do with me. So in order to deal with my pain and loneliness and disapproval of myself I found my outlet through food, outside I struggled with the same old feeling of wishing for acceptance, love, to achieve my dreams and goals, to be liked and thought of as athletic, beautiful and popular like the other girls, the road to perfection. Inside I tore myself apart calling myself fat and ugly. I began to gain weight rapidly over the years using food to replace the pain and sorrow I felt inside.

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